Seven albums into one of country music’s most-respected and most-unpredictable careers, award-winning singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley continues to grow. His latest evolution comes in the form of RISER, a project due out Feb. 25, 2014 that stands as his most personal to date.
Written and recorded in the year following his father’s death, the album draws its title from “I’m A Riser,” a song about resilience and determination. “I’m A Riser” works as a commentary on spiritual, personal and societal recommitment, but it also applies to the competitive battlefield of the music industry. It’s particularly appropriate for an album about rejuvenation delivered by Bentley.
“Life in general has a way of knocking you down,” Bentley says. “It’s different reasons for different folks – could be personal reasons, could be family reasons, your job, drugs, alcohol. That song really applies to anybody that’s lived. There have always been those moments when we have to get back up and get on our feet. They are defining moments…breakthrough moments.”
Accepting change – and growing from it – is a key theme in RISER, and it is reflected by the tone of the album, which demonstrates a new artistic depth and an extra level of intensity for Bentley. It evolves from track to track, exuding a range of emotions, all the while impressing upon the listener that Bentley’s instinct for a hit is stronger than ever. Bentley made significant reconfigurations in his creative team to shake up his sonic texture without sacrificing his commercial drive. He re-enlisted executive producer Arturo Buenahora, Jr., who worked on Bentley’s first two albums; and utilized producer Ross Copperman, who co-wrote “Tip It On Back” for Bentley’s previous album Home.
The new atmosphere yielded the most focused and intense vocals of Bentley’s career. Some were recorded live with the band as the musicians laid down the tracks, but others were captured in less-than-obvious locales. One track’s vocal was recorded on Bentley’s tour bus. Still others were cut at Copperman’s house with the producer literally at Bentley’s side, pushing him to some of his most emotional, and seasoned, performances.
“It’s not even really a studio,” Bentley says of Copperman’s set-up. “It’s just kind of a corner of the house he’s taken over, so there was a kind of intimacy to the vocal process. It was important to get out of the studio and sing in different places, and to do it with other people in the room. That way, you have an audience and you get a sense of what’s working, what’s not working, when it’s feeling good, not feeling good. It brings a little more emotion and energy out of your voice.”
Since making a life-altering drive with his father from Phoenix to Nashville when he was 19 years old, Bentley has forged his own path in an industry built predominantly on formula. He has mixed elements of modern country, classic country, bluegrass and rock, maintaining an unmistakable identity while constantly reinventing his sound. His album Home debuted at No. 1 and spawned three consecutive chart-topping hits, marking 10 career No. 1 songs for Bentley as a singer and songwriter. His five previous studio albums have sold more than five million copies, garnered 11 GRAMMY nominations and earned him an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.
Dierks Bentley will perform on the star-studded fourth annual WE Day special tomorrow night (August 17th).
Dierks, who will perform his recent No. 1 song “Woman, Amen,” will be joined on the television special that was taped this past Spring by Jennifer Aniston, Whoopi Goldbern, Will Ferrell, Cyndi Lauper, Martin Sheen, Selena Gomez and host John Stamos, among others.
WE Day is a celebration of doing good, honoring youth and families across the country who prove that when they put their individual resources together, they can help on a global level. WE Day includes a series of 19 stadium-sized events held across the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and the Caribbean as a catalyst to support the movement of young people leading change. Students can’t buy a ticket to WE Day – youth earn their way by the actions they take on one local and one global cause of their choice.
In a WE video (see below), Dierks talks about ways his children learn how to help others. “We constantly think about ways to give our kids as much of a balance as possible,” he says. “One of our favorite things to do is just go to Second Harvest, which is a food bank in Nashville, and pack backpacks for kids. They learn about the fact that these kids get their food from school. That’s the only place they really eat…It really helps them understand the privileges they have and hopefully plants a little bit of a seed in them for having that compassion and interest in helping folks in their community.”
Catch Dierks and the rest of the all-star cast on the WE Day special airing at 8pm Friday night on ABC.
Dierks Bentley has been rolling out some good tips to prepare fans for his inaugural Seven Peaks Festival taking place over Labor Day Weekend. This week, his Public Service Announcement (PSA) is all about Hygiene.
He says some of the most important items to have on hand for the three-day festival is deodorant, Gold Bond powder and “Dude Wipes” (not going to explain; just look it up).
Dierks, along with Brothers Osborne, have hit the Top 35 on the country charts with their new collaboration, “Burnin’ Man,” from Dierks’ latest album, The Mountain.
Many of your favorite country stars will be featured on ABC’s three-hour special, CMA Fest on Wednesday (August 8th). The concert special was taped during this year’s CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville in June. For fans who weren’t able to attend, or if you want to revisit the amazing time you had, you can watch Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt and Chris Stapleton, among others, perform on the stage at Nissan Stadium (home of the Tennessee Titans).
“I’ve always been the type of artist when I can perform my music for a television audience, it’s the best of both worlds. You get to be in people’s households and they get to always put the face with the song,” says Luke. “I mean, this is like a big, awards-show-type crowd in August and yeah, it’s very important. You don’t want to go out there and lay an egg. You want to go put a great show on, because the fans that are in the room, they’re gonna go watch it again in August. And another thing — it’s gonna make people that may not have been to this festival, they’re gonna want to come be a part of that. So, it’s been fun watching CMA Music Fest grow to where it’s sold out every night, and that’s because we put a cool thing to watch on TV together for the fans.”
The CMA Fest special, hosted by Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini, airs Wednesday (August 8t) beginning at 8pm ET on ABC.
Luke Bryan (CMA Music Festival TV) OC: …for the fans. 1:00
“I’ve always been the type of artist when I can perform my music for a television audience, it’s the best of both worlds. You get to be in people’s households and they get to always put the face with the song. I mean, that used to be a big deal in my career, in my early career, we had to make sure that the people watching at home put it together that this crazy guy was singing in the song. I mean, this is like a big, awards-show-type crowd in August and yeah, it’s very important. You don’t want to go out there and lay an egg. You want to go put a great show on, because the fans that are in the room, they’re gonna go watch it again in August. And another thing — it’s gonna make people that may not have been to this festival, they’re gonna want to come be a part of that. So it’s been fun watching CMA Music Fest grow to where it’s sold out every night, and that’s because we put a cool thing to watch on TV together for the fans.”
Keith Urban (CMA Fest TV) OC: …it’s my tribe. :15
“Well, number one, for the fans, who come from all over the world to be here, and it’s an amazing week for them. But for me personally too, I love the work that all of the CMA Board and all of the Foundation do. You know, they’ve been very good to me over the years, and it’s my tribe.”
Carrie Underwood (CMA Music Festival) OC: …when they’re here. 1:05
“CMA Music Festival is so much fun, and every year they do a TV special, which is really cool. We kind of get to give the rest of the world that didn’t get to come to the Music Fest a little taste of what it’s like and hopefully they’ll see it and want to come next year. But CMA Music Fest is so much fun. No other genre of music does what country music does for their fans like this, which is so cool. There are literally like hundreds of thousands of people that like descend on Nashville, and there’s not a hotel to be found. Everywhere you go there’s people looking for music and looking to see artists and fan club parties and charity events and the CMT Music Awards are that week. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s kind of a way to get to interact and give back and meet the people that have been coming to see you on tour and get to say thank you. It’s just a blast. I came as a kid growing up a couple of times, and it’s cool to be on that side of things and now to be on this side of things, but I think everybody just has a lot of fun when they’re here.”